from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • adjective Nautical Of, relating to, or being the mast above the topmast, its sails, or its rigging.
  • adjective Raised above adjacent parts or structures.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • Being above the topmast and below the royal: applied to mast, sail, rigging, etc.
  • Topping; fine.
  • noun The topgallant mast, sail, or rigging of a ship.
  • noun Figuratively, any elevated part, place, etc.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun (Naut.) A topgallant mast or sail.
  • noun Fig.: Anything elevated or splendid.
  • adjective (Naut.) Situated above the topmast and below the royal mast; designatb, or pertaining to, the third spars in order from the deck. See Illustration of Ship.
  • adjective Fig.: Highest; elevated; splendid.
  • adjective a breeze in which the topgallant sails may properly be carried.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • adjective nautical Situated above the topmast and below the royal mast.
  • adjective Of the most superior quality; the best of its kind.
  • noun nautical The sail suspended from the topmost section of a mast; topgallant sail.
  • noun nautical The topmost section of a mast; topgallant mast.
  • noun Anything elevated or splendid.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun a mast fixed to the head of a topmast on a square-rigged vessel
  • noun a sail set on a yard of a topgallant mast


Sorry, no etymologies found.


  • There was a similar raised place forward, called the topgallant forecastle.

    Peter the Whaler

  • And at this moment the watch swarmed on to the poop to haul on the port-braces of the mizzen-sky-sail, royal and topgallant-sail.


  • Then it was clewlines and buntlines and lowering of yards as the topgallant-sails were stripped off.


  • And each time Mr. Pike glanced aloft at the naked topgallant - and royal-yards, I knew his thought was that they might well be carrying sail.


  • Mr. Pike was so fooled that he actually had set the topgallant-sails, and the gaskets were being taken off the royals, when the Samurai came on deck, strolled back and forth a casual five minutes, then spoke in an undertone to Mr. Pike.


  • The wind, during the night, had so eased that by nine in the morning we had all our topgallant-sails set.


  • "It would be good to set the mizzen-topgallant," I heard Captain West mutter in a weak, quavery voice.


  • The skysails were already furled; men were furling the royals; and the topgallant-yards were running down while clewlines and buntlines bagged the canvas.


  • Between whiles, and all the while, he gauged the gusts, and ever his eyes lifted to the main-topgallant-yard.


  • He was Mulligan Jacobs; and he picked his way back across the wreck of the bridge where the fore-topgallant-yard still lay, and came up to me unafraid, as implacable and bitter as ever.



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  • "At four bells in the afternoon watch, or two by the clocks in the town, Jack was sitting in front of a small looking-glass in his sleeping cabin with a freshly-laundered cravat the size of a topgallant studdingsail spread out ready to be folded about his neck..."

    --Patrick O'Brian, The Far Side of the World, 57

    February 20, 2008